Architects, like everyone else, will one day die—but their work will live on, allowing meditations not only on the loss of their own lives but on death as a whole. In upstate New York, the nonprofit arts group Art Omi is probing the intersection of design and mortality with EXIT Architecture: Speculations for the Hereafter, on display until March 3 at Art Omi’s Benenson Center in Ghent.
As the planet’s population booms and more people die than ever before, space for the deceased has become an increasingly scarce resource. EXIT Architecture presents 15 speculative architecture projects that radically reorient spiritual, spatial, and ecological conversations around death.
Art Omi solicited proposals from all over the world, and the resultant show is accordingly diverse. New York City–based entrants were numerous, including Michaela Metcalfe, director of design and construction excellence at the N.Y.C. Department of Design and Construction, Roderick Cruz, and Studio Ames.
Visitors can peruse video, mixed-media installations, models, a life-sized coffin, drawings, and app-based immersive experiences.
EXIT Architecture’s curators—Julia van den Hout, Kyle May, and Warren James—have also shaken things up by including work from an architect who has firsthand experience with death, the late Lebbeus Woods. Woods’s Einstein Tomb imagines a memorial to the famous physicist that’s been launched into deep space, traveling the cosmos until the heat death of the universe, all rendered in his trademark deconstructivist drawing style.
The exhibition space itself was designed and fabricated by Brooklyn-based architect Kyle May. EXIT Architecture is the first curated exhibition of the Art Omi: Architecture program, which is also currently in the third year of its residency program.